JC History Tuition Online - What is the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia

What is the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN: Building regional peace and security)

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Ess
ay Questions
Theme II Chapter 2: The Cold War and Southeast Asia (1945-1991): ASEAN and the Cold War (ASEAN’s responses to Cold War bipolarity)

The document
On 24 February 1976, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) was signed. This peace treaty was formalised during the Bali Summit in Indonesia by the five founding members of ASEAN.

In their relations with one another, the High Contracting Parties shall be guided by the following fundamental principles :

a. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all nations;

b. The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;

c. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;

d. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful means;

e. Renunciation of the threat or use of force;

f. Effective cooperation among themselves.

An excerpt from the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Chapter I: Purpose and Principles, Article 2, 24 February 1976.

Notably, this document was signed a year after the Vietnam War concluded, with the forces in North Vietnam unifying the Vietnam territory under Communist rule. It was an alarming development, considering that ASEAN was futile in keeping the region free from external interference, as seen by its use of the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in 1971.

Application: Dispute resolution
To put the principles of the TAC into practice, ASEAN formed a ‘High Council’ that features a judicial dispute-settlement mechanism to resolve regional matters amicably. Yet, the High Council was only being referred to when Indonesia suggested to resolve the territorial dispute with Malaysia with regards to the Sipadan and Ligitan islands. Eventually, when Malaysia objected, this dispute was brought up to a globally-renowned International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The only time that resort to the dispute-settlement provisions of the TAC was ever considered was in the mid-1990s, when Indonesia proposed using the TAC’s High Council to help resolve its dispute with Malaysia over ownership of the Sipadan and Ligitan islands. Malaysia declined the proposal. Instead, Kuala Lumpur preferred, and President Soeharto eventually agreed, to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which has since ruled in Malaysia’s favour.

An excerpt from “Southeast Asia in Search of an ASEAN Community” by Rodolfo Severino.

Application: Extra-ASEAN engagement
In the post-Cold War phase, ASEAN re-positioned itself to maintain its relevance. The establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1994 was meant to engage non-ASEAN countries, particularly the big powers like the USA and China, through peaceful talks.

The TAC was applied to enforce the need for proper code of conduct so as to de-escalate tensions and resolve disputes, such as the ongoing territorial clashes in the Spartly Islands.

In the early 1990s, ASEAN supplied an inclusive security dialogue forum to bring together all the major regional powers and players, something other actors were unable to do. Through this process all powers agreed to ASEAN’s TAC as a regional code of conduct, and to dialogue as a key aspect of regional strategic engagement, no mean feat considering the US’ and China’s scepticism and opposition to multilateralism in the initial post-Cold War years.

An excerpt from “Understanding ASEAN’s Role in Asia-Pacific Order” by Robert Yates.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the TAC was effectively applied in ASEAN’s response to the Cold War?

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the political effectiveness of ASEAN in the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Receive summary notes and attempt diverse practices to get a head-start in your examination preparation.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to learn more.

JC History Tuition Online - What is the purpose of AFTA - ASEAN

What is the purpose of AFTA?

Topic of Study [For H2 History Students]:
Paper 2: Regional Conflicts and Co-operation
Source Based Case Study
Theme III Chapter 2: ASEAN (Growth and Development of ASEAN : Building regional peace and security)

Learn more about the ASEAN Free Trade Area [Video by NBT World]

What is the AFTA?
On 28 January 1992, ASEAN formalised the ASEAN Free Trade AREA (AFTA), which aims to enhance the region’s competitive advantage as a production base to access the world market in the post-Cold War world. Through the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Agreement, the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers among member nations would help to expand intra-regional trade.

At first, then Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun proposed the AFTA during the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 1991. At the Kuala Lumpur meeting, his Malaysian counterpart Dr. Mahathir Mohamad lent support to Anand’s proposal.

Establishment of a Free Trade Area

54. The Foreign Ministers welcome as a matter for serious consideration the initiative of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Thailand, which was supported by the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia, that ASEAN moves towards a Free Trade Area by the turn of the century, and agreed that the Senior Officials of ASEAN undertake further study and discussion for submission to the forthcoming ASEAN Summit.

An excerpt from the 1991 Joint Communique of the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 20 July 1991.

The backstory of AFTA: Lee’s meeting with Anand
Before the AFTA was created, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew met the incoming Prime Minister Anand in May 1991. Apart from the discussion of a recently resolved Cambodian conflict, Lee brought up the topic of regional trade. Although Singapore was at the forefront of economic development in the region, not all member nations shared similar sentiments in promoting regional economic cooperation, partly due to inter-state tensions.

Strategically, Lee and Anand both knew AFTA could not be promoted as any sort of Singaporean initiative. “If Indonesia and Malaysia had known the idea was discussed at my meeting with Lee Kuan Yew, it would have been a problem and treated with a degree of skepticism,” said Anand. Indonesia felt it should always take a leading role in ASEAN affairs, which is one of the reasons the grouping’s secretariat had been established in Jakarta in 1975. Meanwhile Malaysia has always been suspicious of anything with Singaporean fingerprints on it.

Lee was circumspect about his meeting with Anand. “He understood the economics of trade and investment in an interdependent world,” Lee later wrote. “To avoid lingering suspicions about Singapore’s motives, I advised Prime Minister Goh to get Anand to take the lead to push for an ASEAN Free Trade Area.”

An abridged excerpt from “Anand Panyarachun and the Making of Modern Thailand” by Dominic Faulder.

Features of the AFTA
Under the CEPT Agreement, tariff rates levied on a range of products traded within Southeast Asia should be lowered to 0-5%. Notably, there are exclusions to protect the interests of key industries for member nations. An extended deadline was given to new members like Vietnam (2013) and Cambodia (2017), so that they have adequate time to facilitate market integration with the free trade area.

CONVINCED that preferential trading arrangements among ASEAN Member States will act as a stimulus to the strengthening of national and ASEAN Economic resilience, and the development of the national economies of Member States by expanding investment and production opportunities, trade, and foreign exchange earnings;

DETERMINED to further cooperate in the economic growth of the region by accelerating the liberalisation of intra-ASEAN trade and investment with the objective of creating the ASEAN Free Trade Area using the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Scheme;

An excerpt from the Agreement on the Common Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Scheme for the ASEAN Free Trade Area Singapore, 28 January 1992.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the effectiveness of ASEAN in promoting regional economic cooperation through the AFTA in the 1990s.

Join our JC History Tuition to study the effectiveness of ASEAN in promoting regional cooperation. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Get useful study references and timely feedback to grasp the subject well.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - How does the UN General Assembly work - United Nations

How does the UN General Assembly work?

Topic of Study [For H1/H2 History Students]:
Paper 1: Safeguarding International Peace and Security 
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme III Chapter 2: Political Effectiveness of the UN in maintaining international peace and security

The UN General Assembly: Revisited
Let’s recap on what we have learnt about the ‘world parliament’, also known as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). As stated in Article 7 of the UN Charter, the UNGA is one of the six principal organs. Among all six, the UNGA allows political representation of all member states through its “one nation, one vote” system.

Ever since its inception, the membership size has increased from a humble 51 to 193. Initially, the UNGA started out with its predominantly European and Latin American composition. Following decolonisation, the inclusion of newly-independent countries in Africa and Asia contributed to a global forum that is more representative of the world.

The Six Committees
There are six main committees to address a wide range of matters, such as “Disarmament and International Security” (First Committee) and “Administrative and Budgetary” (Fifth Committee). In October and November, the UNGA will begin its proceedings in these committees. During this phase, the UNGA will consider the adoption of resolutions to deal with procedural matters, like membership admission. Interestingly, the First Committee saw heated debates during the Cold War.

Article 21 of the UN Charter states that the UNGA shall “elect its president for each session”. Additionally, Article 22 points out that the UNGA should “establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions”. As such, presidents serving the main committees will come from different regional groups (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern European and Western European) in a rotational manner. Notably, the Permanent Five members of the Security Council will occupy positions in the committees as vice presidents.

Each main committee elects a chair, two vice chairs, and a rapporteur. The chair presides over committee meetings and co-ordinates or encourages the informal consultations on procedural and substantive questions necessary to its effective functioning. The vice chairs preside as needed, and in most committees also organize or promote informal discussions on agenda items assigned to their care. The rapporteur, assisted by the Secretariat, drafts the summaries of debates and explanations of committee drafts that comprise its reports to the plenary.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

The Regular Sessions
In the UNGA, the regular sessions commence from the third Tuesday in September till the third week in December. Each government of a member state can send delegates as representatives to attend the General Assembly session. Article 9(2) of the Charter stipulates that each member state should send “not more than five representatives”.

The Special and Emergency Sessions
In view of more exceptional situations, the UNGA can conduct Special or Emergency Special Sessions to address specific agendas. These sessions can last from one day to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the matter. They can be held at the request of the Security Council or a majority of the member states.

The following are some notable Special Sessions held by the UNGA:

As for Emergency Special Sessions, here are some examples:

  • 1st Emergency Special Session (1956): Middle East on the Suez Canal Crisis
  • 4th Emergency Special Session (1960): Congo Crisis

Use of the General Assembly as an arena for criticizing rivals and appealing to wider audiences began in earnest as the Second World War allies divided into contending Cold War blocs. Public debate provided both sides with occasions for asserting the superiority of its own vision for the world and the inferiority of the other’s. By 1950, another broad cleavage, between an anti-colonial majority and the remaining colonial powers, had also emerged, but did not inspire the same two-way intensity of discussion because the colonial powers were more defensive and subdued. From the late 1960s through the 1980s, the South–North cleavage produced sharp rhetoric as the more radical members of the Third World coalition took the lead in denouncing Western imperialism and neocolonialism.

An excerpt from “The UN General Assembly” by M. J. Peterson

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– How far do you agree that the United Nations General Assembly has fulfilled its Charter-defined roles?

Join our JC History Tuition to evaluate the effectiveness of the principal organs of the United Nations. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. We provide useful study notes, essay outlines and source based case study references for productive revision.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.

JC History Tuition Online - What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises - Superpower relations with China

What happened during the Taiwan Straits Crises?

Learn more about the first Taiwan Straits Crisis of 1958 that shaped Sino-American relations from the late 1950s to the 1960s [Video by British Pathé]

Topic of Study [For H1 History Students]:
Section B: Essay Writing
Theme II: Cold War in Asia [1945-1991] – Superpower relations with China (1950-1979)

The First Taiwan Straits Crisis: A geopolitical contest
Following the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) victory over the Kuomintang (KMT) during the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the latter fled to Taiwan. The Taiwan Strait separated mainland China from Taiwan as the KMT formed the Republic of China (ROC).

Map depicting the Taiwan Strait that separated mainland China from Taiwan [Source: Ohio State University]

Quemoy (金门 or Kinmen) and Matsu (马祖) Islands were considered the first line of defence for Chiang Kai-shek’s ROC. Additionally, the United States offered to aid its newfound ally, the ROC, especially after its hostile interactions with Chinese troops during the Korean War.

Notably, US President Harry Truman delivered a rousing speech that reaffirmed the American commitment to its political alliances in East Asia, including Taiwan.

Accordingly I have ordered the 7th Fleet to prevent any attack on Formosa. As a corollary of this action I am calling upon the Chinese Government on Formosa to cease all air and sea operations against the mainland. The 7th Fleet will see that this is done. The determination of the future status of Formosa must await the restoration of security in the Pacific, a peace settlement with Japan, or consideration by the United Nations.

An excerpt from a statement by the US President Harry Truman on Korea, 27 June 1950.

A Mutual Defense Treaty was signed with ROC to legitimise American military presence in the vicinity. Yet, such actions proved aggravating to Sino-American relations. In early September 1954, the PRC launched the bombardment of Quemoy and Matsu Islands. Chiang deployed about 100,000 troops to defend the two outermost islands, hoping that the American allies would come to their aid.

After the first crisis, the US Congress passed the “Formosa Resolution” that granted President Eisenhower the authority to defend Taiwan from communist aggression.

The Second Taiwan Straits Crisis: The Conflagration
During the Bandung Conference of 1955, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai expressed desire to negotiate with the United States, possibly to de-escalate tensions and avert a full-scale military conflict with it. The olive branch offered by Zhou to the United States had earned much support and praise from the attendees at the Asian-African Conference in Indonesia.

By following the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonaggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, the peaceful coexistence of countries with different social systems can be realized. When these principles are ensured of implementation, there is no reason why international disputes cannot be settled through negotiation.

An excerpt from Premier Zhou Enlai’s speech during the Asian-African Conference, 19 April 1955.

However, efforts to reduce tensions were negated by Eisenhower’s contemplated to use nuclear weapons on the PRC. On 23 August 1958, the Chinese leader Mao Zedong authorised the artillery bombardment of Quemoy Island. In retaliation, the ROC armed forces fought back.

Under the obligations of the American-Taiwan defense treaty of 1954, the United States offered military aid to the Nationalists. Increased American presence in the Taiwan Straits had alarmed the Soviet Union, such that Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited Beijing to uncover the rationale behind Mao’s decision to attack Quemoy. Fortunately, the conflict did not escalate into a nuclear confrontation.

Chairman Mao said that the bombardment of Jinmen, frankly speaking, was our turn to create international tension for a purpose. We intended to teach the Americans a lesson. America had bullied us for many years, so now that we had a chance, why not give it a hard time?

… In our propaganda, however, we still need to condemn the Americans for causing tension in the Taiwan Straits. We did not put them in the wrong. The United States has several thousand troops stationed on Taiwan, plus two air force bases there. Their largest fleet, the Seventh Fleet, often cruises in the Taiwan Straits.

An excerpt from the “Inside Story of the Decision Making during the Shelling Jinmen” by Wu Lengxi

A thorn in the flesh: Prelude to the Sino-Soviet Split
On 6 October 1958, a ceasefire was made. Yet, the peace was short-lived as the PRC resumed its attacks on the two islands for nearly two decades until the late 1970s due to the Sino-American rapprochement.

Along the same vein, the Taiwan Straits Crises in the 1950s had impacted Sino-Soviet relations. On the surface, it appeared as if the signing of the Treaty of Friendship had proved to be fortuitous for Mao Zedong as he received Soviet military support to deter American attacks. Yet, the diverging perceptions by the two Communist leaders began to cause the gradual deterioration of bilateral relations. Partly, Khrushchev’s hesitance to antagonise the United States could be traced to his notion of “Peaceful Coexistence” that Mao could not agree with.

New evidence suggests that, on the contrary, the Soviet Union did everything it had promised to do in support of the Chinese operation, and that it was China, not the USSR, that was unwilling to follow through. This outcome explains why Khrushchev, feeling he had been burned once, was determined not to let it happen again. From then on he emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan problem, a lesson that Mao was unwilling to draw, for fear it would expose the magnitude of his failure in the Quemoy crisis. These different views became a sore point in Sino-Soviet relations, as was evident during Khrushchev’s visit to Beijing in the autumn of 1959.

An excerpt from “The USSR Foreign Ministry’s appraisal of Sino-Soviet relations on the eve of the Split, September 1959” by Mark Kramer.

What can we learn from this article?
Consider the following question:
– Assess the view that the Taiwan conflict was the root cause of the Sino-Soviet split.

Join our JC History Tuition to analyse the significance of Taiwan and other related factors that shaped superpower relation with China. The H2 and H1 History Tuition feature thematic discussion, question application for essay and source based case studies. Students who enrol in the programme will receive concise study notes to enhance their study strategy and gear up for the examination.

We have other JC tuition classes, such as GP TuitionEconomics TuitionJC Chemistry TuitionJC Math Tuition and China Studies in English Tuition. For Secondary Tuition, we provide Lower Secondary English Tuition, Secondary English Tuition, Secondary Math tuition, Secondary Chemistry Tuition and Secondary Economics Tuition. For Primary Tuition, we have Primary English Tuition. Call 9689 0510 to find out more.